Home builders

‘Painful’ supply chain delays cost Connecticut home builders

Fluctuating prices and delays in the supply of building materials are a challenge for Connecticut new home builders and renovators and, in some cases, cause construction delays.

“It’s painful,” said Bob Wiedenmann, owner of Sunwood Development in Wallingford. “We worked for years where the hardest thing to do was get that next sale. Now sales are easier, but it’s harder to make a profit.

Lumber prices have gone up and down since last winter and now the costs of other products are on the rise, according to Wiedenmann, whose company is building a home in its Magnolia Ridge development in Middletown.

“Lumber costs went crazy last winter and spring of this year,” he said. “They’re lower now than they were then, but they’re still around 20% higher than they were two years ago. We expect aluminum prices to rise 30-35% at the start of the new year and additives that go into concrete to increase.

Lumber prices peaked at $ 1,515 per thousand board feet at the end of May, according to Fortune magazine, then fell to $ 399 at the end of August. Between that date and the end of October, lumber prices rose 40% to $ 545 per thousand board feet.

The price Jesse Allen, owner of Milford’s Bay Construction, pays for roofing materials has tripled this year alone, he said. About 80 percent of Bay Construction’s business is renovations, Allen said.

This kind of volatility “makes it harder to price things.” said Liz Verna, director of Wallingford-based Verna Properties.

Allen said it was possible to pass on some of the cost increases he incurs if it is a new contract.

“But once it’s signed and sealed, you can’t really go in and add more to the price,” he said.

As painful as the price hike is for builders and renovators, delays in the supply chain have been worse, causing construction to halt in some cases.

“It’s really bad,” Allen said. “We’re losing some projects because we can’t get the materials we need. It takes almost 90 days to get windows compared to two weeks previously. “

Sunwood Development had to stop work on a house in Woodbridge for a month due to delays in obtaining foam insulation, according to Wiedenmann.

“We have a house in Essex that’s completed and the family want to move in by Thanksgiving,” he said. “But they can’t because the gas company can’t get a meter for the house.”

Verna said everything associated with building new homes, from plumbing supplies to appliances and garage doors, “is in short supply.”

“We used to order garage doors two or three weeks before we needed them, now it takes 16 weeks to get them,” Verna said. “We order appliances now when we are pouring the foundation, and we order trusses and windows as soon as we get the building permit. “

Wiedenmann said: “there is no reason to rhyme” for the delays.

“We are waiting for fiberglass water heaters and showers,” he said. “It wasn’t a problem six months ago.”

The shortage of building materials is resulting in delays in the completion of new homes. Wiedenmann said the houses his company builds in 90 days take between 150 and 180 days.

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